It is that time of year again when honeybees from all over the USA are loaded into 18-wheeler trucks and driven to California’s 1.6 million acres of almond trees in what is known as Central Valley. Their mission is to pollinate as many almond trees as they can, and the window is quite tight. It is an amazing race from start to finish.
We came across a video online that highlights an apiary in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. They are in the process of prepping to load 600 hives, filled with 18 million bees, into trucks for the journey west.
Sierra Malnove is the owner and founder of Creamed Honey Company. She shared that they have been working all year to prep the bees for the big event. Along with Al Salopek, she is loading the 600 beehives onto a semi-truck.
This 2:09-minute video by WPTV News – FL Palm Beaches and Treasure Coast shows us how these bees are prepping for their busiest time of year:
California has very high standards when it comes to allowing ‘foreign’ insects into their state. The bees must be on very clean pallets and have no foreign debris. There is no guarantee they will be granted entry, so the whole westbound trip could be in vain.
Honeybees entering California are subject to California Department of Food and Agriculture quarantine regulations. This is to stop colonies from entering that are contaminated with tracheal mites, varroa destructor mites, and more recently, also fire ants. If the inspectors at the California border find any ants in the truck, they will refuse entry and send it back. In 2021 this happened to several Texas trucks.
Renting bees out to use as pollinators, especially for the annual largest pollination event in the country and in fact in the entire world, is very lucrative for beekeepers. But there are also high expenses and great hazards involved.
Major California almond growers are urging beekeepers across the USA to send their healthy hives to the almond orchards. They must get the job done in the small window that is open to them every year from early February until around mid-March, and to do that, they need to have about 2 million beehives trucked in. That's a whole lot of bees.
Then it all breaks up again as spring begins, and the bees can get some R&R after being overly busy bees.